Huge crowd for Panagbenga parades seen

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Friday, February 22, 2013


DANCERS wearing Cordilleran costumes, flower adorned floats in various sizes and stars of major television networks are expected to cheer up the crowd this weekend.

Panagbenga Festival executive committee chairman Freddie Alquiros said all committees have reported that they are ready for the festival’s biggest salvo, the Panagbenga Grand Street Dancing and Float parades this weekend.

A total of 13 entries will join the street dancing competition mostly from nearby Cordillera provinces and local schools.

The Baguio Cultural Society (BCS) is tasked to ensure the authenticity of the ethnic dances and storylines to be presented during the parade.

Aloysius Mapalo, BCS vice president and University of the Cordilleras assistant vice president, said it will be an exciting year for the competition as the festival goes back to its roots to display the rich and colorful Cordillera dances in full pageantry.

“Just like how we started it last year, each contingent’s presentation must be inspired by a specific Cordilleran custom, ritual, folktale, or literature. It has to be truly specific that the place or tribe of origin must be identified and that costume and props must be reflective of that specific culture. It is an educational feast especially for visitors unaware of rich Cordillera dances,” Mapalo said.

Mapalo added that the goal of the BCS when they started handling the street dancing parades is “to give an identity that is truly ours, characteristic of the beauty of the Cordilleras, and not copied from other festivals.”

Among those who will participate in the street dancing competition are last year’s champion Kamora National High School of Kabayan, Benguet in their Adivay Festival presentation of bountiful harvest while last year’s runner up from Tabuk City will showcase the Abuyog, a unity and cooperation dance of the Kalingas.

Kabayan tourism officer Engr. Berry Sangao said they prepared for the festival from conceptualization stage since December with practices since last month.

Tourism officer Arlene Odiem said taking off from their successful Ullalim festival presentations, Tabuk City’s Matagoan performers will try to snare the street dancing title from Benguet after preparing for more than a month.

Panagbenga festival co-chairman Anthony de Leon said the Panagbenga street dancing parade, which started 18 years ago with a competition participated only by Baguio schools, has now grown into a regional festival with entries coming from as far as Apayao, Kalinga, Bontoc, Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya.

Other participating entries in the street dancing competition include Pines City National High School’s Teatro Pino in their Hulin Ifugao ritual, St. Theresita’s School of Tabuk in their Bumabanga ti Kalinga dance, SLU Laboratory High School‘s Tsinakhon Cultural Ensemble in their Bontoc, Mt. Province harvest presentation.

Also participating are Teatro Mi Pengantaan of Baguio City National High School’s Special Program in the Arts in their Benguet Iowak dance, Baguio City Academy Colleges’ Chono Wedding Feast presentation, St. Louis Philex Dangtey Ken Tayaothanksgiving ritual dance, Saint Louis University Cordillera Cultural Performing Group Abra Tinuian Say-ang dance, Apayao province’s Kabbinullig presentation, Bontoc’s Litangfan Cultural Group in their ethnic dance entitled Teer Ti Saray-at, Aritau, Nueva Vizcaya performing Benguet’s Ngayow celebration dance and Pinsao National High School’s Abra Rain dance called Insalay.

Meanwhile, for Sunday’s Grand Float Parade, designs for the floats include popular cartoon character Dora that will be featured by a mall chain, Claude Monet inspired theme for a hotel, while the Baguio City government float will feature tourist landmarks that include Kennon Road, Lion’s Head and Mines View Park and DA-CAR’s float will feature their National Year of the Rice theme.

Float designer John Kimo, who designed at least four floats that include Argentina, Jollibee, Taloy Norte Farmer’s Cooperative and North Luzon Expressway in this year’s competition, said conceptualization and preparation of the floats designed as native huts, gigantic bees and highways date as far back as December as they ordered their flowers that include Malaysian mums, chrysanthemums, orchids, anthuriums and roses from flower growers in La Trinidad, Benguet.

Kimo said costs for each float alone is pegged at P300,000 at the minimum with some floats costing close to a million pesos for the flowers, design, vehicle, fuel and float participants.

A total of 19 gargantuan flower-festooned floats are expected to parade down the Summer Capital’s Central Business District this year that include hall of famer Baguio Country Club, Smart Communications, SM Baguio, Psalmstre, Creworks Asia, Department of Agriculture-CAR, Jollibee, Taloy Norte Farmers Cooperative, Dole Philippines, NLEX, Le Monet Hotel, International Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (IPI), San Miguel Brewery, Argentina and La Trinidad municipal government.

Television networks GMA and ABS-CBN will also participate in the float parade fielding casts of Indio Senator Ramon Revilla Jr., Rhian Ramos, Ehra Madrigal, Veness Del Moral while ABS-CBN float while casts of teleserye Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw that include Anne Curtis, Robin Padilla and Kris Aquino are expected to join the parades. MLhuillier’s will also be graced by Gary Valenciano.

Thousands of police and volunteer augmentation groups are tasked to maintain peace and order and crowd control during the parades, Baguio City Police Office director Jesus Cambay Jr. said.

Festival organizers expect hundreds of thousands of spectators in this year’s edition of the Panagbenga with the long weekend due to the February 25 Edsa Day holiday.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 23, 2013.

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